Kohima: Yearning for a permanent settlement to the prolonged political conflict and consistent efforts towards consolidating re-conciliation among Nagas by churches, civil societies and state government marked the year gone by in Nagaland.

The year also witnessed steps by the state government to push forward development activities, generating employment and curbing corruption amid Opposition Congress' charges of nepotism, favouritism and misuse of Central funds by the ruling dispensation.

During the year, the ongoing peace talks between the Centre and NSCN-IM towards finding a lasting settlement to the decades-old Naga political conflict could make some headway after a series of discussions.

A joint statement in July said that negotiating parties could able to "narrow down differences" on various issues keeping open for further parleys on some "contentious issues".

However, towards the end of the year, there seemed to be some hiccups after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's statement at Imphal on guaranteeing the integrity of Manipur which the NSCN-IM described as "unfortunate" pointing out that such a gesture from the government might affect the ongoing peace talks.

In the backdrop of media reports that the Centre was proposing a "supra state body" to the Naga group, which was misunderstood as a territorial threats to Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, the prime minister on November 3 announced that territorial integrity of Manipur would be protected.

But giving a new hope to the people at the advent of Christmas and a new year, NSCN-IM 'chairman' Issac Chishi Swu and its 'general secretary' Th Muivah on December 13 met Home Minister P Chidambaram in New Delhi.

On the home front, incidence of political violence dropped drastically but "taxation" and extortion by various underground groups and criminals remained rampant throughout the year, particularly in commercial town Dimapur.

The state also witnessed rising cases of atrocities against women during year with law enforcing agencies cracking many cases and women groups voicing concerns over such unwanted development.

Continuing its efforts towards peace and re-conciliation, Forum for Naga Re-conciliation (FNR) along with other civil society groups and churches tried to bring various Naga underground factions closer to have a unified voice on the political question, and the state government and parties also extended their supports to this initiative.

The Forum successfully arranged the meetings among the top leaders of three underground groups at Dimapur which resulted in formation of the 'Naga Concordant', a prelude to unity on the grounds among them to have a unified voice on the Naga political issue.

The three groups, which signed the Naga Concordant in August, are NSCN-I-M, GPRN/NSCN led by Khole and Kitovi Zhimomi and NNC/FGN led by Shingnya.

However, the people at large are of the opinion that the remaining three underground groups should also be brought to the fold of Naga re-conciliation process for complete cessation of hostilities.

On the political front, the state witnessed another development during the year when the Neiphiu Rio government recommended to the Centre formation of an autonomous council comprising four border districts after six tribes from the region intensified their demand for a separate 'Frontier Nagaland' state.

Recognising the grievances of the border people, the state government also constituted a high-level committee to study the entire issue which recommended immediate and long term investments for infrastructure and socio-economic development of four districts.

During the year, the Naga women groups demanding implementation of 33 per cent quota in municipalities as enacted by the Nagaland Assembly.

The High Court asked the government to hold polls to urban local bodies by January next with reservation provision.

As usual the opposition Congress continued its attack on the DAN government charging with misuse of central funds, nepotism, favouritism when the government claimed to have initiated concrete steps to cleanse appointment anomalies, particularly in the school education department after detecting a large number of fraudulent appointments and bogus teachers draining the exchequer.

At the initiative of Youth Congress, party general secretary Rahul Gandhi made a maiden visit to Nagaland in November and addressed the students at Nagaland University at Lumami and attended a public rally at Dimapur.

As part of the e-governance initiative, Union Minister of State for Communication Sachin Pilot visited Kohima and launched the Centre's ambitious ADHAR and state-wide area network (SWAN) scheme and inaugurated the Regional Institute of e-Learning.

The year ended with a positive note when the state successfully celebrated the annual Hornbill festival drawing a large number of foreign and domestic tourists.

Many young Nagas earned recognitions both at regional and national levels in the fields of sports, music, fashion and cinema and other innovations.

As the new year dawns, the usual festive atmosphere has already gripped this Christian majority state hoping for peace and prosperity in this troubled land.